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Lee Hayes Byron selected as UF/IFAS Extension director

Lee Hayes Byron selected as UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability director

Post Date:04/05/2018 8:46 AM

SARASOTA COUNTY - Lee Hayes Byron has accepted a conditional offer to become the new director of Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability, it was announced Wednesday.

Byron has served with Sarasota County Government since 2005, starting her career as a land manager in the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection program. The Sarasota native became the county's Sustainability manager in 2008 and has served in that position since. The Sustainability program merged with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County in 2014.

"I am excited to have Lee Hayes officially join our team. She brings a wealth of organizational knowledge from the county government side of the partnership and a genuine desire to learn the UF/IFAS Extension side," said Brenda Rogers, southwest district extension director with UF/IFAS Extension. "She is well positioned to lead the county Extension program, and I look forward to working with her and the Sarasota County team to continue addressing important local needs through educational programs."

As part of the national Extension system founded in 1914, UF/IFAS Extension provides practical education to help individuals and organizations make informed choices through community initiatives, classes and volunteer opportunities related to food systems, water and environmental resources and youth and community resource development.

Backed by the commitment of Sarasota County Government to foster thriving, sustainable communities, UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability develops and delivers economically viable, environmentally sound and socially equitable programs and services.

"We believe that Lee Hayes' experience and tenure with the county will be a tremendous benefit to both organizations and the greater community," said Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis. "She has played an integral role in Sarasota County's efforts to serve as environmental stewards."

Byron previously worked in Washington, D.C., as the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Action Network, a coalition of environmental organizations working to establish climate change policies at the state, federal and international levels. In her previous role as Sustainability manager, Byron was responsible for the county's sustainability education and outreach programs and oversaw the addition of more than $4 million in grant funds to support those programs.

"It will be an honor to lead this group of knowledgeable and committed staff and volunteers as we work together to serve this community and make a tangible impact for its people, economy and environment," said Byron, who is expected to start her new role April 20.

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.

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